The Simple Meals Our Family Has Been Eating This Week, Part 2

I’m assuming you downloaded your FREE Simple Meals Planning Packet this week? It is free, after all. Go get yours!

I posted earlier this week about how I’ve been using this week’s Simple Meals menu to easily get food on the table for my family. As it turns out, I used half the plan last week and am finishing it up this week. (Perks of being the one who creates the menu plans – I got to start using it ahead of time!) If you missed it, check out this post which shares pictures of the first few meals in the plan.

Here we go with Days 5 and 6 of following the Simple Meals plan!

Day 5: Crock Pot NightSimple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast

To kick-start a new week, on Sunday night, right before I headed to bed, I put together the Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast. For the record, if you forget to start that recipe at night before bed (because at the end of the day, some of us who shall remain nameless might be too tired to remember to execute good plans like this), you can always start it early in the morning to have it ready in the evening in time for dinner.

I was very proud of myself for remembering to start the roast on Sunday night, and woke up the next morning to the delicious smell of our lunch. I turned the crock pot to “keep warm” setting and at lunch time I stir-fried some veggies to go with our meal. (We have been having our main meals at lunchtime lately because it’s working better with our busy evening activities schedule.)

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I got this fun note from Susan last week about the Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast recipe and wanted to share!

Thank you so much for sharing this common recipe. I mean, who hasn’t already made a roast in the crockpot before? But your tips were amazing. And I didn’t know I could put it in the crock without first browning it in a pan (this always felt like so much trouble, and would discourage me from making this dish when I was in a hurry). And Frozen!  Are you kidding me? Well – I did it – just like you suggested. Cooked on low for 12 hours, and it was the best tasting, most tender roast beef I’ve ever made. Oh, and I cooked carrots in the bottom, and their flavor was wonderful. Thank you again.

Fun, huh? Thanks, Susan. This is what Simple Meals is all about!

Day 6: No Trouble NightSimple Pizza Chicken Bake

The final meal on this week’s Simple Meals menu was Simple Pizza Chicken Bake. I could go on and on about how easy this recipe is to make and how very delicious it is to eat. I served it with green beans and tossed salad, so as always, this went on the table very quickly.

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Hopefully you enjoyed the free Simple Meals Planning Packet!

I’d love all of you to take advantage of the Simple Meals Subscription offer! Just think. A complete menu plan and grocery list will land in your inbox every single week, along with a bunch of bonus tips and recipes. Your small investment (which we promise to make very, very worth it) will save you so much time, energy, and money every week! You won’t have to think about what to cook. Bliss. And the meal suggestions are incredibly simple, yet detailed to make everything easy for you.

Don’t forget there’s a $10 off coupon waiting for you here, plus over $60 worth of freebies that are yours after your purchase. That means you get more in freebies than the cost of your entire yearly subscription. Score!

Simple Meals is a ridiculously good offer. (We made it super affordable for all! Less than $1 per week!) Can’t wait to have you join us!

Join Simple Meals Here.

The Simple Meals Our Family Has Been Eating This Week, Part 1

Ready to see how our family has been using Simple Meals this week to eat well and save time?

I’m pretty sure that when you look at these pictures of our meals, you’ll say, “Hm. That’s it?” and the answer is, “Yep. Pretty much.” (That’s why it’s called simple.)

So first things first, did you download your FREE Simple Meals Planning Packet this week? I’m throwing them out to everyone, just this once. Go get yours and use it to put great, real food meals on the table while enjoying more family time!

I cheated just a little bit and started using this menu plan last week. That has made it a little easier to pictures to share with you this week. So once I had the entire packet completed and ready to send to our Simple Meals subscribers, I printed off the Simple Meal Plan page.

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I looked at the menu options, I looked at my calendar, and I started to figure out which meal would be best for each day of the week. I know the picture of the document is a little hard to see, so let me type out the headings on the plan. This is what every Simple Meals plan includes, and it is my favorite feature!!

  • No Thaw Night
  • Crock Pot Night
  • Make-Ahead Night
  • No Trouble Night
  • Build it Yourself Night
  • Savor it Night

See why I love this? I can look ahead at my week and see the days I will likely be very limited on time. I’ll select those days for the “No Thaw” or “No Trouble” option. We only had one day we were planning to be home all day, so I chose that day for our “Savor it” meal.

Two Things:

  1. I needed to keep the meal plan flexible, so I only penciled in a day of the week for each meal so I could switch it out if I needed to.
  2. I made most of these meals at lunchtime instead of in the evening. We had a busier-than-normal week, and all of our evenings were spent away from home. Therefore, I made our main meals at lunchtime; then at dinner time we warmed up leftovers or threw together something fast before running out the door (and usually ate more late at night when we got home, because we eat all the live-long day.)

Here’s what I’ve captured on camera so far. I’ll share about the other two meals later this week!

Day 1: Make-Ahead Night: Taco Rice Dinner

I doubled this recipe, and while I hadn’t had time to make it ahead, I did make it in the morning while we were eating breakfast. That way all I had to do at meal time was rewarm it. As you can see, I cut up a cantaloupe and threw out our containers of spinach and mixed greens, along with a jar of Homemade Ranch Dressing. Boom. The meal is served.

P.S. I followed the advice in the Simple Meals Bonus Tips section which suggested that while I cooked the ground beef for this meal I should also cook the ground beef for Simple Skillet Taco Pasta. That worked great, and I transferred that cooked meat to the fridge for our “Savor It” day.

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Day 2: No Thaw Night: Last Minute Lentil Chili

The following day, we had plans to help our disabled friend move across town to a different apartment. Plus we had basketball games that evening. Knowing we would be gone most of the day, I made a pot of Last Minute Lentil Chili in the morning before we left. I was SO glad I did! We weren’t able to stop for a lunch break until almost 2:00 and we didn’t have much time to eat. We ran home for a quick bite, inviting our new friends we’d met who were also helping with the move. I warmed up the chili and yesterday’s Taco Rice Dinner leftovers (since we had extras to feed). We quickly opened a can of chilled pineapple and a can of olives and called it a meal. It wasn’t fancy, but we were too hungry to care. :)

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Day 3: Savor It Night: Simple Skillet Taco Pasta

How fun that I ended up making this the day Asa, our college son, showed up at the house needing to pick up a few things! He hadn’t eaten yet, so he got to sit down with us and “savor” the meal. Of course, we got to savor time with him, a win-win.

This meal was very easy to put together because I’d already cooked the meat earlier in the week when I’d made the Taco Rice Dinner. I steamed some green beans, then washed and capped some strawberries. Simple and delicious!

P.S. Had I known Asa was going to come for lunch, I would have doubled this. ;) As it turned out, I just skipped it and ate something else so there would be plenty for the fam. I don’t eat much pasta anyway. :)

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Day 4: Build it Yourself Night: Chef Salads

This is the day we were getting our house ready to host a bunch of teenage boys over the weekend for our annual church youth rally. I didn’t have time to cook, but I did want to get some good nourishment in all of us as I knew we’d be eating a lot of compromise food over the weekend. It was the perfect day for everyone to build their own chef salads!

Thankfully, I already had some bacon bits made and cheese shredded. I got out the mixed greens and spinach, sliced some red pepper, washed tomatoes, and got out the Ranch Dressing (then made more since I saw we were almost out!). I washed and capped some strawberries and called everyone in to build a salad for lunch. Easy, delicious, nourishing, simple!

simple meals feb4

 

Stay tuned for how I used the rest of the Simple Meals plan. Be sure to get your FREE plan here!

Did you download yours? How’s it been going as you put it to use?

Today I Give a FREE New Simple Meals Plan to Everyone!

This week is going to be a fun one, and here’s why:

I’m giving everyone this week’s Simple Meals plan for FREE!

(Also, I’m going to blog this week about how I’m using the plan. Stay tuned!)

Why am I giving this week’s plan to you? Simple. I want you to see how great it is.

My biggest goal with Simple Meals is to help you save money, time, and energy so you can enjoy spending more time with your family. Did you catch that? It’s not just about spending more time with your family. It’s to help you ENJOY spending that time with your family.

Sometimes we get to the end of the day and we’re so exhausted that even if there is time to spend, we’re too tired to enjoy it. Been there, done that? Me too.

Each week Simple Meals plans show up in your inbox as if to say, “Here you go. Your thinking, planning, and list making have been done. Also, here are some bonus recipes and time-saving tips. You will love this week’s recipes. Now go enjoy your family.”

I'm giving everyone this week's Simple Meals plan for FREE!

I’m giving you all this week’s Simple Meals Planning Packet because want everyone to see why being a part of Simple Meals is worth it! Also, I love you and it’s fun to give you free stuff. :)

So here you go.

Download this week’s Simple Meals Planning Packet.

I’ve been cooking with this particular plan and taking pictures to show you during the next few days to detail how this plan works for our family. I don’t know what I would do without it, seeing as in the past eight nights in a row, we have been on the run – from meetings to Bible studies to basketball games to church activities. Plus, we spent a day helping our disabled friend move across town, I had appointments out of town one day, and our church hosted 150 kids for a youth rally all weekend, 13 of which stayed in our home for two nights.

This mama needs Simple Meals. (and a nap.)

The days with our children at home are long, but the years are short. I’m staring that reality straight in the face as my kids so suddenly have been turning into men, one right after the other. I want to enjoy putting food on the table for them, but more than that, I want to enjoy laughing at their jokes and listening/watching/cheering/praying for their work and activities and life journeys.

No matter your season in life, whether you have little bitties who require a lot of attention and care, or you have big kids you’re trying to keep up with, or you work full time, or you homeschool, or you are involved with ministries, or all of the above and more than the above – let’s do what we can to enjoy what God has given us. I believe much of this begins with keep our real food meals as simple as possible.

And that, my friends, is why I created Simple Meals.

Try it for free this week! Utilize it for YOUR specific family’s needs. That’s one of the best features of Simple Meals. The planning is done, but you can quickly organize it to suit your family’s needs for each week.

Download this week’s Simple Meals Planning Packet.

Today I’m also giving away a One Year Simple Meals Subscription!

Sign up to win in the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw a random winner on Wednesday, February 8. Watch for an email sharing who the winner is!

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Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

I’m a big believer in this: If my kids are capable of doing it, I ask them do it.

How else will they learn to clean, cook, think, be responsible, work hard, and take care of me in my old age?

That’s why I asked Malachi, our 12-year old, to put this meal together one morning. Knowing it was as easy as “dump these ingredients into the crock pot, stir it up, turn it on, then run do your math lesson” it seemed like the right thing to do. He’s learning that cooking is simple, I’m getting help around the house, and it’s amazing how cooking a meal by himself makes him stand a few inches taller while everyone eats it up with many, “Wow, this is so good” compliments.

Or maybe the kid is literally growing taller. Well yeah. But we already knew that.

crock pot pasta2

Here’s my little issue with crock pot meals that include pasta: If I have to cook the pasta ahead of time before adding it to the crock pot, what even is the point in using the crock pot? How does that save any time? It certainly dirties up more dishes. I am not okay with this.

Therefore I never make pasta dishes in the crock pot. (Nor do I have my children make them.)

But recently I did a little looking online to see how it might work to dump uncooked pasta into a crock pot. Might it cook along with the other ingredients? A little experimenting turned out this Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta recipe, which is as easy as can be.

Now, this is a meatless meal. You’re more than welcome to stir cooked hamburger or cooked chicken into your crock pot. But then, of course, you’d have to cook the meat first, which means dirtying up another dish, and I refuse to take responsibility for making you do that. Also, you should know that my family full of carnivores ate this and never once asked, “Hey. Where’s the meat?” I think the three cheeses in this recipe make this hearty enough to keep everyone happy.

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (25-32 ounces each)
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella, cheddar, or Colby jack cheese
  • 1 pound UNCOOKED whole grain pasta, any shape
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Dump all ingredients into a crock pot and stir well.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours or until pasta is tender.

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

Serve this easy crock pot dish with a quick salad and steamed veggie. It’s as simple as can be. I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s delicious. This is a given. And now we know that we can dump uncooked pasta into the crock pot and turn out a great meal in just a few of effortless hours.

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

We’d love more of you to join Simple Meals! There are some exciting plans coming up!

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The Truth About How Cooking Healthier Foods Has Saved Me Time (and dirty dishes)

Raise your hands, wives, if you can recall a day you spent extra time on your hair, makeup, and outfit so you could impress your husband – only to have him not even notice. Now leave your hands raised if you can recall another day you pulled your hair into a 5-second messy bun, never changed out of your mis-matched sweats from yesterday, and forgot makeup existed – only to have your husband give you a second appreciative glance, grin, and say, “Well hey there, Cutie.”

Rest assured, he appreciated the nice hair, great outfit, and perfect makeup day too. Perhaps he was just too distracted or busy at the time to say so. Let us all be thankful he loves us on our “prettiest” days and even (especially) on the days we’re singing “oh where is my hairbrush?”

What does all this have to do with saving time while cooking healthy food? Everything. It very much relates in every way.

The Surprising Truth About How Cooking Healthier Foods Has Saved Me Time (and dirty dishes)

See, one day recently, I was having an “I can’t keep up, what even is a kitchen, I don’t feel very well, we have got to get this assignment done” kind of a day. I don’t even have to tell you what my hair looked like (and I recommend you save yourself the embarrassment of trying to conjure up an image). More importantly, dinner prep kept getting pushed farther down the to-do list.

I finally found two minutes (and a bit of energy) at lunchtime to put some frozen chicken into the crockpot, dump on some bbq sauce, and crank it to the “hi” setting. At least we’d have some meat ready before the boys left for drum lessons and basketball practice, thought I.

The chicken cooked itself all afternoon. Just before dinnertime later that night, I stir-fried some carrots and broccoli with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and salt. I grabbed a jar of applesauce from the pantry and declared it a meal, such as it was. My hair though. There was nothing that could be done.

Would you believe? My husband walked into the kitchen after putting in a 10-hour work day, saw the food I had “prepared” and not having any idea of the ridiculously short amount of time I’d spent cooking said, “Wow! This looks fantastic! What a great meal! Thank you!!”

saucy chicken3

Not that he isn’t equally appreciative when I have taken the time to roll out homemade noodles or have produced a fresh loaf of bread. But his gratitude reminded me of this:

  • A meal doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious.
  • Sometimes the healthiest meals are the very simplest.

The busier I have become through the years, the simpler our meals have needed to be. I’ve noticed that the simpler our meals have become, the healthier they are.

Isn’t that unexpected?

And here people still think cooking healthy food takes all kinds of extra time.

Take it from the girl who took five minutes to cram frozen chicken into a crock pot, and then threw out a few veggies just before meal time. Learn from the mom who has learned to make a complete meal of Parmesan Broiled Fish with veggies in record time (10 minutes, start to finish, thanks for asking).

I believe the simpler we keep our meals, the healthier they can be. Stop making healthy food complicated. Focus on the basics (meat, veggies, fruit). Save the special, longer-to-make meals, for special occasions.

Just think. We might even find more time in our day to change into a cute sweater before dinner.

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Psst! If you join Simple Meals, you’ll have more time to change out of your mis-matched sweats. We promise.

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Simple Overnight Melt-in-your-Mouth Beef Roast

Remember the Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken recipe I shared? That’s becoming one of my new go-to recipes to help me feed my family on busy days. This, of course, led me to experiment more with the idea. What else, I wondered, could be cooked in the crock pot overnight to make my day simpler tomorrow? Well. One result this Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast.

Simple Overnight Beef Roast

Just like the chicken, you can put your roast into your crock pot directly from the freezer. It thaws and cooks overnight. The next day, the meat will fall apart and melt in your mouth!

Why would we want to cook meat in our crock pots overnight? Let me count the ways:

  • When we wake up to cooked meat, we have something good to pack for lunches if that is a need.
  • We can turn the crock pot to the “keep warm” setting and have meat waiting for us later at lunch time at home.
  • We can turn off the crock pot and cool the meat to eat in big chef salads at lunch time.
  • We can put the meat in the fridge to pull out any time we need it during the next few days.

The concept is so simple, and it presents so many easy meal options!

Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast

Simple Overnight Melt-in-your-Mouth Beef Roast
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound beef roast
  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix (recipe below)
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Put roast in the bottom of a crock pot. (Roast can be frozen or thawed.)
  2. Pour Worcestershire sauce, Onion Soup Mix, and water over the roast.
  3. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Here’s my Onion Soup Mix recipe.

Simple Overnight Melt in your Mouth Beef Roast

This roast is delicious no matter if you serve it with mashed potatoes and veggies or if you serve it in a chef salad. The flavor is incredible!!

Have you tried cooking meat in a crock pot overnight? What has your experience been like?

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

It’s recipes like this that makes Simple Meals such a life saver for families. We’ll provide the plans. We’ll provide the recipes. We’ll provide the grocery list. All you have to do is take a deep breath and enjoy how simple your life in the kitchen has become! Join Simple Meals!

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A Complete Meal in 15 Minutes – From Start to Finish

It’s a complete meal, and I made it in 15 minutes from start to finish. Look how beautiful:

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First let’s talk about pork for a little bit.

I like feeding my family hormone-free meat, antibiotic-free meat, grass fed meat, free range meat, all the happy, healthy kinds of meat.

But sometimes I compromise.

I have great local sources for chicken, lamb, and beef. But I almost always buy my piggies at the store. We don’t have pork very often, but shucks, pork is so delicious. We love bacon, ham, and sausage. My boys are athletes and often ask for meat in the morning (and all day long). I’ve decided that in order to keep life simpler (and to avoid completely killing my already very high grocery budget) – I’ll go ahead and buy pork products when I find them on sale at a regular grocery store.

I don’t feel great about this, but I guess I feel good enough about it that I haven’t stopped doing it. So that’s that.

sliced-ham2

So now let’s get on with the fun part where I tell you how you can put a complete meal on the table in 15-minutes from start to finish!

A Complete Meal in 15 Minutes

Sometimes I buy a pre-cooked ham as pictured above. I slice it all and put it in a Pyrex dish in the fridge to pull out as needed for quick lunches or to go with eggs at breakfast.

Having this on hand is fantastic! This sliced ham fries up within a few minutes in a skillet. We’ll steam some peas and pull out the mixed greens and salad dressing. We’ll prep some fruit. Just like that, we’ve got a complete meal ready to eat.

complete-meal-in-15-minutes

If you don’t feel good about eating pork, there are Turkey Ham options available – or maybe you’d enjoy another variety of meat that fries up quickly to complete your meal.

Either way: Never forget the ease of steaming a veggie, prepping some fruit, and pulling out fresh greens to complete a meal. This is THE way I make our meals simple and nourishing. The variety of fruits and vegetables is so good for our bodies and feeding us like this takes only a tiny bit of effort!

Are you pork eaters at your house? What meals have you found to be easy enough to throw together in just a few minutes?

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Join all of us who are enjoying Simple Meals!

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A Year of Simple Breakfasts

In case the title made you think I have 365 Simple Breakfast ideas to share with you, I have to apologize and let you know that while I do have many simple breakfast recipes, I do not have one for every day of the year. (After all, we do eat eggs pretty regularly at our house.) Rather, this post will share how I’m planning to keep our breakfasts as simple as possible this year! I bet the ideas shared here WILL get you through an entire year, with plenty of variety, and all kinds of simplicity!

Take, for example, the breakfast shown in this picture.

a-year-of-simple-breakfasts

One morning last week, I made and served Giant Breakfast Cookies, Bacon, and Strawberry Parfaits. Sounds involved right? Not at all simple! Complicated and time consuming, even!

But it wasn’t! It was so simple! Here’s how I did it:

  1. I had pre-made Breakfast Cookie dough balls in the freezer. (Read the details on how to do that here.) I simply pulled some out, put them on a baking sheet, and slid them into the oven to bake while I continued my morning Bible reading time.
  2. I had pre-made Bacon. (Read the details on how to do that here.) Just after I woke the boys, I threw some bacon in a skillet to reheat and crisp up. It took 30 seconds, no joke.
  3. I had already made the Cream Cheese Parfait filling for another meal a few days before. I pulled out what was left, washed and sliced some berries, and put them on the table.

The boys LOVED this breakfast (who wouldn’t?) and I loved having such a great meal to serve. What I loved more than anything is how simple it was to put on the table.

But what about taking all that time to prepare simple breakfasts ahead of time?

Sounds like the before-hand prep can negate the “simple” in all of this, huh? Sure, it’s easy to put it on the table if you’ve done all the work ahead of time – but who has time to do all that work ahead of time?

I get it. I don’t always have the time to get ahead either. But I’ve found that if take an hour or two in the kitchen sometime during the week – whenever I can find the spare hour or two – I can knock out quite a bit of cooking which saves me all kinds of time and energy later.

And…while I could fall back on boxed breakfast food if I really wanted to keep it simple, I don’t like doing that unless I’m desperate or especially over-scheduled. We love homemade food. We love a hot breakfast. There really are great ways to keep it simple!

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, Freeze, and Warm Up Fast

oven-bacon-2

When to find a spare hour or two for cooking ahead?

It varies, and will be different for all of us depending on our work and family situation. Here are some time slots that sometimes (but not always) work for me:

  • In the morning after breakfast after I’ve gotten my kids going on their school work. This only works on mornings I don’t have any pressing blog work needs or deadlines. And it only works if my youngest is sitting at the kitchen table doing his work so I can bounce back and forth between cooking and helping to keep him on task.
  • In the late afternoon or early evening while I’m cooking dinner. After all, I’m in the kitchen then anyway. If the dinner meal is simple enough (and at this point, all my meals are kept simple) – I can sometimes stir up something for the freezer or put something into the oven to help me get ahead for another day.
  • Anytime I’m cooking something for today, I consider if I can double or triple up so I can have extra for another time. I do this with almost everything.

These “cooking ahead” methods work for any meal, but here are some specific breakfast ideas for getting ahead that help keep our morning meal times super simple!

1. Cook several pounds of Bacon Bits ahead of time.

I freeze these to pull out as needed. For a simple breakfast, pull out a scoop to quickly make Scrambled Bacon Cheesy Eggs.

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

2. Make 5-Minute Stove-Top Granola. 

Store it in a jar. Save it for a morning you have no time to cook. Serve it with a variety of your family’s favorite stir-in options.

5-Minute Stove-Top Granola

3. Make Dark Chocolate Almond Granola.

Use the 5-minute stove-top method if you like! This is our favorite granola and making it at home saves quite a bit of money compared to buying it at the store.

Dark Chocolate Almond Granola - A Great Make-Ahead Meal

4. Make Homemade Grape Nut Cereal.

This is super tasty and super easy! I typically double this recipe and keep it in big jars so we can have it on busy “no time to cook” mornings.

Homemade Grape Nuts

5. Make Homemade Cracklin’ Oat Bran.

This is our favorite of the homemade cereal options! It’s also super easy to make and stores great in jars in the pantry.

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran

Wait! Do I ever buy cereal at the store and serve cereal out of a box?!?

Of course. Remember this post? Just because I can, doesn’t mean I always do. Store bought cereal saves my neck some days. No guilt. ;) Now back to the Simple Homemade Breakfast ideas…

6. Make Breakfast Cookie Balls for the freezer.

As mentioned above, these are awesome to have in the freezer. I usually double the recipe, and freeze the dough in balls so I can pull out just enough for one meal. These can be frozen after you bake them too, but we like eating them fresh out of the oven!

Here’s our White Chocolate Cranberry Breakfast Cookie recipe too. :)

Breakfast Cookies for the Freezer

7. Make Homemade Poptarts for the Freezer.

Like the Breakfast Cookies, we like eating these right out of the oven. Again, I usually double the recipe, then freeze them and pull out just enough for one meal. They bake easily from their frozen state. I can throw them in the oven while I’m reading my Bible in the morning. So simple!

homemade-poptarts-for-the-freezer

8. Make muffins ahead of time and freeze them before baking.

This idea is my favorite. I often mix up several different batches of our favorite muffins, freeze the batter, then quickly bake them as needed!

silicone muffins 1

9. Make Stir-and-Pour Bread.

If I have this bread on hand (usually I make it the day before instead of the morning of) – we can make Peanut Butter Honey Toast or Scrambled Egg Sandwiches.

stir and pour bread loaf 5

10. Have cheese shredded to make it easy to make Scrambled Cheesy Eggs.

We love melted cheese on our eggs. If I have some shredded already, this makes breakfast so much simpler!

TIP: We use our Food Processor to shred cheese. I LOVE THIS!!! We can shred a huge 5-pound block of cheese in about two minutes. It’s worth owning a food processor just for the cheese shredding capability! (We have one like this.)

grated cheese

11. Make any of these 49 Breakfast Freezer Food ideas.

Frozen breakfasts are awesome to have on hand for simple meals!

49 Breakfast Freezer Foods

12. Make big batches of Turkey Sausage

I almost always make 12 pounds at once (the entire case of ground turkey I get in my Azure Standard order!). I bag it up in 1-pound bags. Since it’s precooked and crumbled, I can throw it in scrambled eggs or make a quick batch of Sausage Gravy.

Homemade Turkey Sausage

 

I would love to hear your ideas for Simple Breakfasts at your house!

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Last Day for Simple Meals Discount!

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Remember, Monday, January 16 is the last day you can get $12 off your Simple Meals subscription! Get all the details about Simple Meals here. You’ll LOVE all that is included!

Simple Meals will save you so much time and energy, giving you more time to enjoy your family!

Use the code SIMPLEYEAR12 to get $12 – through Monday night only!

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Limited Time Simple Meals $12 Discount!

As we kick off the Year of Simple, I really want to encourage everyone to join our Simple Meals program!

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Why should you join Simple Meals?

  • So you’ll have more down time to spend enjoying your family! <—- That’s the number one reason. :)
  • All the meals are simple (of course), delicious, and family friendly.
  • You’ll save much time and energy!!
  • Meal planning is done for you.
  • Grocery lists are made for you.
  • Every week you get bonus time-saving tips and extra recipes.
  • Every week you get current bonus money-saving tips.
  • Subscribers get oodles of freebies!
  • You can earn money when you refer your friends!

Read all about Simple Meals here.

We know you’ll love it!

Big news this week!

Through Monday, January 16 you can get $12 off your Simple Meals subscription! That is a huge discount along with the $56 worth of freebies you get when you purchase. With this discount, you can enjoy Simple Meals for just pennies per week!

Use the code SIMPLEYEAR12 to take $12 off your Simple Meals subscription. Can’t wait to have you on board!

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken (Lunch is ready when you get up for the day!)

This Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken idea might be one of my favorite Simple Tips/Recipes of the new year!

It takes five minutes of “work” to make this before you go to bed at night. It’s brainless. It involves no measuring or dirtying of dishes. You can practically sleep walk your way around this (which is precisely how I do everything after 10:00 pm). Best of all: No chickens have to be thawed in the making of this recipe.

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How this recipe/idea came about…

It was a cold, windy, dark Friday night (adjectives added for dramatic effect). It had been a long, exhausting, busy week (and this is different from other weeks, how?). Saturday, we had a full day of basketball games scheduled in a town two hours away. We needed to pack breakfast to eat on the way and lunch to eat between games. Friday night we were finally getting around to figuring out food for the road the next day.

I eagerly decided to get creative! (In other words, I didn’t have bread or lunch meat in the house and I didn’t want to go to the store.)

We have learned that big, meaty chef salads between basketball games are great for our boys who need to eat something substantial and full of protein, but not terribly heavy.

I decided we could certainly do Chicken Chef Salads to eat between games – if only I had thought ahead enough to cook some chicken for these salads. Frozen, raw chicken just isn’t the same. But then I thought, “what if?” The best ideas are born when you think to yourself, “what if?”

So I dumped some frozen, raw, boneless chicken thighs into the crock pot, dumped on some BBQ sauce, plugged in the crock pot (always, always plug it in), turned it on (also important), and went to bed.

The next morning the house smelled marvelous. After all, I had been slow-cooking BBQ Chicken all night – like a boss – while I slept.

The end of this story was supposed to include the fact that we quickly shredded the chicken in the morning and made ourselves some wonderful chef salads before heading out the door for the day. But as it turned out, the weather was terrible, the games were canceled, and the boys got so excited about the chicken when they got out of bed that they ate it for breakfast.

Who am I to say no? I wanted some too.

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Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken

Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1-3 pounds frozen, boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite sauce (bbq, teriyaki, sweet and sour, etc)
Instructions
  1. Place frozen chicken in a crock pot.
  2. Pour sauce over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 7-10 hours overnight.

This is hardly a recipe. This is a “use your favorite sauce” and “pour it on whatever chicken you have in your freezer” idea. It’s the simplest thing to do and you can use your deliciously cooked meat in whatever way you need it the following day. Pack it in a lunch to take to work. Make it into a salad. Save it for lunch to eat at home after a busy morning of living life. Pack it to take to away games to eat while sitting in the bleachers. Or most definitely:

Go ahead and eat it for breakfast. Sometimes this can’t be helped.

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It’s recipes like this that makes Simple Meals such a life saver for families. We’ll provide the plans. We’ll provide the recipes. We’ll provide the grocery list. All you have to do is take a deep breath and enjoy how simple your life in the kitchen has become! Join Simple Meals!

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